Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker hit back Saturday at potential GOP presidential rival Marco Rubio over the Florida senator’s charge that there’s “no way” a governor can be ready for president when it comes to foreign policy.
“I think he’s questioning how Ronald Reagan was ready,” the Wisconsin Republican told reporters after speaking at an event for Iowa Rep. David Young in Urbandale.
Walker argued that, in his lifetime, Reagan “was the most impactful” president on foreign policy, while President Barack Obama “shows as a first-term senator, (he) isn’t prepared to lead, or at least is not in the case of Barack Obama.”
“I think governors innately have the ability to lead. We are every day required to use our Cabinet to make decisions, not just give speeches,” he continued. “Not to just travel to foreign places but to ultimately make decisions based on using top talent in our Cabinet and our management team.”
Walker made similar remarks in his speech earlier Saturday, arguing that leadership matters more than experience.
“I’m not saying being a senator or a governor makes you better or worse automatically, ‘cause Jimmy Carter was a governor and he wasn’t that great either,” Walker said. “But what it’s about is leadership.”
The governor vs. senator debate has been fueled in recent weeks by the presidential announcements from Rubio, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz – all first-term senators. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have also questioned whether first-term senators are qualified for the job.
Rubio, in a meeting with the Des Moines Register’s editorial board on Saturday, highlighted his experience on the Senate Foreign Relations committee, and pointed to his background as a state legislator and House speaker in Florida as proof that he was more qualified than Obama was during his first campaign.
“I believe that I can take over on Day One as President, prepared to lead this country in the most crucial obligation the President faces, as commander in chief,” Rubio said. “Governors can certainly read about foreign policy, and take briefings and meet with experts, but there is no way they’ll be ready on Day One to manage U.S. foreign policy.”
Both men were expected to take the stage in Waukee later on Saturday at an event sponsored by the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, where seven other presidential contenders and potential candidates will also speak.
Walker hasn’t declared a presidential run, but he said this week he plans on making his 2016 decision later in June after the Wisconsin legislature passes a budget.